Growth Factors and Steroid Mediated Regulation of Cytoskeletal Protein Expression in Serum-Deprived Primary Astrocyte Cultures

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In this research we aimed to investigate the interactions between growth factors (GFs) and dexamethasone (DEX) on cytoskeletal proteins GFAP and vimentin (VIM) expression under different experimental conditions. Condition I: 24 h pretreatment with bFGF, subsequent 72 h switching in serum-free medium (SFM) and final addition of GFs, alone or by two in the last 24 h, after a prolonged (60 h) DEX treatment. Condition II: 36 h pretreatment with DEX (with bFGF in the last 24 h), followed by SFM for 60 h and final addition for 24 h with growth factors alone or two of them togheter. Western blot analysis data showed a marked GFAP expression in cultures submitted to Condition I comparing results to untreated or treated controls. VIM expression was instead significantly reduced after GFs addition in the last 24 h of 60 h DEX treatment, respect to control DEX-pretreated ones. Referring data to untreated controls, VIM expression was significantly enhanced after GFs addition. GFAP showed also a significant increase in astrocytes submitted to Condition II, respect to untreated or treated control cultures. VIM expression was up and down regulated under Condition II. Collectively, our findings evidence an interactive dialogue between GFs and DEX in astroglial cultures, co-pretreated with DEX and bFGF, regulating cytoskeletal network under stressfull conditions.

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